Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Copper & Coal Gas Explosives - Professor Bottger Nearly Rediscovers Acetylene

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In 1836, Edmund Davy (Humphry's cousin) was attempting to isolate potassium metal by heating carbon and potassium carbonate. He failed, but upon adding water to the residue (now known to be potassium carbide) a gas was evolved, which he noted as "a new carburet of hydrogen." His accidental discovery of acetylene gas was not followed up, and forgotten until Berthelot rediscovered the gas in 1860, and produced it by various means, including passing hydrogen gas through a carbon arc.

It shortly became apparent that acetylene was contained in coal gas in small (and variable) concentrations, and could readily be detected by the formation of the copper acetylide.

The analysis, technical valuation, purification, and use of coal gas
 By William Renwick Bowditch, 1867

However, Prof. Rudolf Bottger had been busy since 1852 making explosives from coal gas. If only he'd thought to pour some hydrochloric acid on his precipitates, instead of detonating them.....

The Chemical Gazette, Or, Journal of Practical Chemistry, Volume 17
Edited by William Francis,1859

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Unrelated to this post, below is an example of
eclectic science esoterica 

By: Pål Berge

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WARNING - Many subjects outlined within this site are extremely dangerous and are provided here for information only. Please don`t experiment with high voltages or chemicals unless you are fully conversant with safe laboratory practices. No liability will be accepted for death, injury or damage arising from experimentation using any information or materials supplied.